Local Voice: "Whats The Deal with the Area Streets?"

Watch out for that pot hole!

Hello, I have recently moved to the area. I have been coming to Newport for the last 14 years via the yachting industry.

I am originally from a small town on the coast of Maine and so Newport is a familiar scene for me. I like Newport and the festive environment. I know, Summer is a bit hectic and traffic can be a bit trying at times but this area is rich in culture and history, particularly with the yachting activities.

This is the home for the New York Yacht club, one of the premier clubs in the world. The history of the America's Cup began here and was a symbol of pride for 150 years, the longest held sporting trophy in the history of any sport held by one country. There is a decent amount of wealth and industry in the area.

The tourist activity seems strong, especially in the summer with a healthy dose of revenue from the visiting yachts and crew spending heavy amounts of money at local business, bars and restaurants to say the least. I know, I have been one of those people.

Having said all this, Whats the deal with the area streets?

Ever since I have been coming here, main street has been a disaster! Many of the surrounding streets in Newport proper are a mess and have been since I can remember.

I do see work going on to various infrastructure like water, sewer & gas mains and that is very important. What I don't understand is why the street is freshly paved (only in a few spots) but then is torn up again for... what?  Seems like a waste of resource.

I often go for drives around the area on any given Saturday or Sunday and, frankly many of the roads are rather rough in places. Yes, There are some very nice roads out in Middletown and Porstmouth. There are some decent stretches here and there in Newport like Bellvue, the waterfront and "Mansion Row".

I like the classic cobblestone in Newport central. The Road around the point is nice. I noticed that most of the affluent area's have rather nice roads and streets but old downtown Newport and the neighborhoods are an embarrassment.

I have a friend who blew a tire and bent some front end parts on East Main recently. She was not going fast, less than 15 MPH. I now have a broken spring on my car which has less than 30k on the clock. This is from East Main and the little streets in town, not something that happened on the highway.

This does not seem quite right to me. They say "it is a privilege to drive a car on public roads" but is it a privilege to have them destroyed by the roads themselves.

There is a lot of money in this town and a lot of taxes being paid to live here. A ton of revenue continues to pour in from a variety of sources. I will only mention the US Navy now.

This town is quite fortunate to have them here and I know there is a regular large revenue coming from that neck of the woods including decent civilian contract work and the naval families living here. There is an elite college also which I cannot help mentioning.

I realize that this country is going through a rough financial stretch but it seems to me that Newport is one of those few places that is doing pretty well compared to a lot of small towns.  I know, My home town is a tourist canival in the summer but when the season is over, money dries up.

They don't have a college or a Naval base. There are no "box stores" close by. The biggest thing happening in my home town is the YMCA and the police log. So, Please enlighten me as to why such a famous New England town with a solid year round business environement has a problem with snow removal and fixing the steets?

Respectfully, Jamie Stark

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Eve Waterhouse April 02, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Glad you like those cobblestones, including the ones they paved over behind the original statehouse. Classy!
Patrick April 02, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Bellvue, and the "Mansion Row" are the same thing, the streets are bad because there is a huge amount of traffic and the perfect weather conditions for frost heaving, plenty of water and lots of below then above then below freezing temps. its the end of the winter season, and we are still having temps drop down below 32 give it a few weeks
Patrick April 02, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Bellvue, and the "Mansion Row" are the same thing, the streets are bad because there is a huge amount of traffic and the perfect weather conditions for frost heaving, plenty of water and lots of below then above then below freezing temps. its the end of the winter season, and we are still having temps drop down below 32 give it a few weeks
gigi Dire April 02, 2013 at 10:08 PM
what does harbour court and the america's cup 30+ years ago have to do with the streets in Newport as they are now? And where is "main street"? I will say that Newport roads aren't the greatest, but I've been driving my very low to the ground mitsubishi eclipse around town for ten years now, and only damage ever sustained was a side-swipe rear view mirror crack by some idiot drunk on st Patrick's day some years back... I've made peace with the crappiness of our city streets by purchasing a mountain bike in lieu of a road bike. I recommend you do the same.... -Gigi d. (another sailor)
Eddie April 02, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Typical Newport responses. The roads are awful and if you don't see that then this editorial will not change your mind. Broadway, Marlborough and West Marlborough are like the surface of the moon. They are destroying private and public vehicles that travel these roads daily. It is embarrassing. We should have a professionally trained road repair division in Public Works and stop out sourcing those jobs. The "perfect conditions" of weather and traffic demand it.
Nellie Sabin April 03, 2013 at 03:10 AM
My pet peeve is the stench at First Beach! Why does a great town like Newport continue to tolerate a beach full of sewage? There have GOT to be resources to help these problems! How do we help Newport get well?
David Lavery April 03, 2013 at 10:45 AM
I am confused a bit by the explanation often given for the reasons that the roads are poor. These conditions mentioned are not isolated to Aquidneck island or the rest of the state, from what I can tell. Yet, other coastal regions, including in Southern New England, seem to not suffer as badly. They also seem to have better repairs. This is all anecdotal at best, and perhaps the perceptions I have are misled. Does anyone have any data, research, or studies that were professionally done to examine the special conditions that exist? Is it related to soil and geological conditions underneath? I notice that Fall River, MA tends to suffer, but it seems in certain areas more than others, which I attribute to volume, but do these roads see that much more volume comparatively, or is there an additional, underlying cause? (....besides the political ones, which you don't need to mention further)
Aspir7n April 03, 2013 at 02:43 PM
I could not agree more with the author. All RI roads are a disaster. Newport relies so much on tourism and our streets do not give our town the first impression it deserves. Its not the amount of effort that is spent on our roads its the quality of work that shocks me. spring street / thames street leaves me speechless.
LK April 03, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Been here all my life and beats me why roads are bad. I think they are trying to get the Grand Canyon like. If people think there is a Grand Canyon here in Newport, can you just think of the tourist market then ? But really, I hate driving down Boardway. Maybe they are keeping it this way because of speeding ? You have to do your homework and find the streets to travel to get to where you have to be. My car is 11 yrs.old and I plan to have it as long as I can. I try to stay off the streets in really bad shape. Maybe some day they will surprise us and fit these streets.
LK April 03, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Also want to say, that they did fit Spring St go towards St. Mary's Church and she say that people are speeding down the street. She lives on Spring St. So they have to keep an eye on this problem. Someone is going to get hurt.
Daphne April 03, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Welcome to Newport! Broadway into the downtown is, frankly, an embarrassment. And you're right, if you take side streets off of Broadway or in the North End especially, the streets are a mess. Friends from the UK commented how poor of an impression Newport makes by the atrocious condition of Broadway and other streets.


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